More on Kagawa

After he became a Christian he decided to become a Christian minister and entered seminary, but at the same time was led to put his faith into action in a radical way. He began to preach in the famous, Shinkawa slum of Kobe. Hear its description: "It had some twenty thousand outcasts, paupers, criminals, beggars, prostitutes, and defectives, who lived like homeless dogs in human kennels of filth and vermin and disease. Policemen feared to visit this district unless they went in groups. Often a single house, not more than six feet square, would accommodate a family of five; or two families of nine to ten persons. A community kitchen, a water hydrant, and a common toilet of unspeakable filth often served the needs of a score of families. The district swarmed with scrofulous, undernourished children, and the infantile mortality often reached the staggering height of over 1 in 2." [p.93, Erickson]. Kagawa contracted tubercular pneumonia. In Kagawa's words: The doctor told me "there was no hope of my recovery. On the third day my condition seemed completely hopeless. I could not cough any more or breathe without effort. For a week I lay there, just praying and waiting. Then the hemorrhages got worse and I got a very high fever. I thought that the time had come for me to die. The doctor said to notify my friends. The sun was setting in the west. I could see its reflection on my pillow. For hours I prayed, waiting for my last breath. Then there came a peculiar, mysterious experience; an ecstatic consciousness of God; a feeling that God was inside me and all around me. I felt a great ecstasy and joy. I coughed up a cupful of clotted blood. I could breathe again. The fever was reduced. I forgot to die. The doctor came back at nine-thirty. He was disappointed. He had written a certificate for my cremation and feared people would call him a quack." [p.16]. [Pause] He went back to Seminary but his strength failed. He went to a small cottage. "There was not much of anything in that cottage--no cot, no mattress--so I got some straw to make a bed on the floor and I lived in that house nearly a year.

People didn't like to get close to me because of my terrible disease, so I was very lonesome." But Dr. Myers visited and stayed four days. "I asked if he wasn't afraid of me. "Your disease is contagious," he said, "but love is more contagious. At that moment I realized more truly than ever what love really means: that love can have no fear; that love can have no limits; that love encompasses everything--the people sick like me, and the people sick in spirit and mind. I thought I must love everybody, too--even the horrible people in the slums. I decided I must not be sick any more. I told God that if He would let me live, I would serve His children in the slums. Pretty soon I began to get well again." [p. 17].